Huskisson in Arcadia

Early dawn and the nymphs are gliding
in an elusive sequence
of gold light along the woodland's edge;
and the songs
of roused birds are making
dawn vocal in leafy domes.

Huskisson is yet sleeping.
When at last light slits his puffy lids
the nymphs have taken to their far recesses
and birds are busy on their wings.

But soon he takes his whittled stick
and goes into the early morning.
Down the lane to the garth-pen
he urges the mournful milky cattle.

The milkmaids meet them in the sheds
with bright-scoured pails and milking stools.
They lean their pretty heads
against a cow's roan glossy flank
and languidly impel
the juicy dugs.

Huskisson leaves for the meadows
where the woolly ewes munch cool grass.
Koy-be, koy-be , he calls to the lambs
who bleat in the wild loneliness.

he lifts the old ewes' feet to scrape the rot
and scatters fresh swedes for them to eat.

The peewits cry, the sun climbs high
Huskisson is gay in the meadows.
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